I couldn’t wait to blog about my magical weekend in Mallorca. It wasn’t just the fact that I ran a personal best time in the marathon I competed in; it was so much more than that.
It’s a very special treat to be able to escape for a few days. Every now and then it’s refreshing to spend a little bit of time on your own. You can remind yourself who you are and make choices just for you without having to negotiate and keep more than one person happy! Whilst I know my children and I will miss each other their diary is packed, the time flies and they’ll reap the benefits of the rejuvenated mum that returns. I did feel slightly guilty about the whole afternoon of ballet show practice that I mentioned to my husband as I breezed out of the door, wheelie suitcase rattling along behind.
I headed to Palma, Mallorca for the 261 Women’s Marathon . You can read all about why I wanted to run in this race here. It was International Women’s Day and this was to be a celebration of womankind; women from all over the world meeting together to share their love of running and the power it brings them.
Palma is beautiful. The majestic cathedral sits proud overlooking the immaculate waterfront. Luxury yachts and fishing vessels sit close to the promenade lined with palm trees. Out of season it’s a mecca for athletes to get some warm weather training, Everyone seems to be walking, running, cycling or rollerblading along. It’s the perfect location for this special race. My hotel the Melia Palas Atenea was beautiful and I quickly wished I’d cleaned the mud from my trainers before I travelled.
I travelled alone (bliss, I actually read a book on the plane instead of playing One Direction Top Trumps) but I met with friends from all over the world including the amazing race founder Kathrine Switzer. Her energy and enthusiasm never ceases to amaze me. Her relentless schedule of work and travelling is overwhelming. How she manages to be so warm, kind and interested in you and look 20 years younger than her 68 years I will never know.
Kathrine (in the pink top) made every person running feel as if she personally invited them. Everyone got a hug at the finish line. Personally I think hugging sweaty people who have run 26.2 miles isn’t something I would enjoy!
The whole weekend was spent with wonderful women. Each taking time out to indulge, relax and challenge themselves. All sharing stories news and dreams, The positivity and ‘joie de vivre’ was palpable. Personal goals were set and the support for one another was incredible.
My goal was to run the marathon in under 4 hours 30 minutes. I thought it was achievable but it involved knocking 9 minutes off my personal record so it was going to be tough. I’d trained through the winter, donning layers and trainers when quite frankly I’d rather have pulled the duvet back over my head. I was well prepared and germ free (amazingly!) so I didn’t have any excuses for not giving it my all. I was also running for a wonderful charity A Mile In Her Shoes and I didn’t want to let them down.
Marathons however are funny things. They take you to very dark places where the running gremlins are literally screaming at you to stop. You are pushed to your limits and anything can happen, even the best laid plans can go horribly wrong. I won’t bore you with the details of my run, only tell you that I made it with 2 seconds to spare. This did however involve a very unglamorous, grunting, possibly screaming woman (it’s all a bit of a blur) literally charging at the finish line and collapsing onto all fours. Not one of my finest moments!
The post race euphoria is hard to beat. The pride that you’ve risen to your challenge and succeeded feels great. Being surrounded by other women experiencing the same feeling is very powerful and emotional.
I was able to indulge the next day with a long lazy walk. The narrow streets of Palma are packed with delis and tapas bars to tempt a hungry runner.
Obviously I avoided any route that involved steps! A visit to the hotel spa soothed my tired muscles. I then found the perfect location to sit and write this blog.
Flicking through the local paper I was rather surprised to see a picture of myself in the race review; thankfully upright. I can’t read Spanish so I shall imagine the caption says something glowing about elite athleticism although I suspect it doesn’t!
A truly memorable weekend for so many reasons. I am indeed rejuvenated if not a little exhausted. Tomorrow I return to the school run and a mad dash to my morning surgery instead of the finish line. There will however be an extra warm glow inside. I wanted to do it, I tried to do it, I dared to do it and I DID IT!